There’s no place I’d rather be
Your beauty is surrounding me
For your tears black orchids bloom
My soul is fed by you
The wanting with birth, then death
It’s back to dirt
Home, to you
Earth, Me’Shell Ndegéocello
I don’t remember exactly when I came to consider myself an unapologetic tree hugger, but somehow it happened.
And I don’t remember how many Earth Days I’ve lived through, willing myself to be more optimistic about world leaders and more understanding of people’s complacency.
I may no longer be an idealistic teenager but, now that I’m almost a real grown up, I still want to believe that change is possible.
Tomorrow is 37th anniversary of World Earth Day and I find myself struggling between impatience and resignation.
Because it pisses me off that police officers take their cool sweet time to get to the scene of a crime against innocent civilians.
But an unarmed activist looking for answers to entirely reasonable questions gets forcibly removed from the EMA.
And people have to be begging the government for water, and Alutrint gets the government’s blessing to use 244 cubic metres of water a day.
And I wonder why we aren’t all in the streets, how people still manage to function, go through the motions of their days.
This Earth Day I’m asking for patience. I’m asking pissed off deities too spare us a little more time to get off our spreading backsides.
That someday soon we’ll all figure out that we all have a responsibility to dealing with what’s going on in our world. Whether it’s insisting that our offices put in a recycling bin for paper and plastics. Or blowing the whistle on companies who dump their waste in vulnerable communities.
It only takes one person sometimes to bring down Babylon.
I’m hoping that tomorrow, Earth Day, we who call ourselves unapologetic tree huggers, naturalists, environmentalists, those of us who champion causes and belong to organizations and like to talk plenty about all the problems commit ourselves to action.
And some of those who call themselves environmental activists will really do something instead of holding tight to their party card or their government subvention.
That somebody who has the information and the authority, will bother to say without fear of reproach, that yes, we can pursue a model of development that won’t kill us and rob future generations of any beauty that still remains.
That somebody might want to suggest that we go organic or ethanol with our sugar industry instead of killing it all together.
That somebody in the government who doesn’t fear Papa Patos, begins to agitate for actual work towards alternative sources of energy. Maybe we might be able to convert all that manure that passes as political discourse in the Red House, into biodiesel.
Meanwhile, as we sit around, wondering what’s to be done and who’s going to do it, hills burn and mountains are moved and land is cleared and somebody utters another piece of dotish talk about a road through the botanic gardens so that Papa Patos’ secret Diplomatic Centre being built by non-nationals can be accessed.
I want to send a shout out to all the latent activists. To all the culture jammers and graffiti artists and street thespians and turntable aficionados. And the sidewalk preachers and the subversive school teachers. There is more than one way to make a change. We don’t all have to go up for office. We don’t all have to start an NGO.
And let me just go a little eco-feminist up in here and say that we really have to stop treating the earth like the crowd in Zen as they watched as Akon dry raped that 14 year old girl. We have to stop looking on as the government and companies big and small, fling the earth about, ride it rough in a most violent and degrading way. We have to stop standing by and watching.
And when they walk off and leave her bruised, battered and stunned, we can’t be the fools in the crowd jumping up and saying ray.
We have to stop taking the chain up that this is all we can do. That this is somehow right. That the earth, like young female sexuality, is ripe for our exploitation.
This World Earth Day is a call to arms. I wonder how many soldiers will come forward.